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With the online retail space exploding, e-commerce businesses must differentiate themselves with innovative and engaging consumer experiences. If you’re a software company that designs and creates BigCommerce solutions for retailers and you’re not integrating the popular e-commerce platform with technologies powering the metaverse, now is the time to bring your clients into the future. More and more are incorporating these technologies that include augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) apps into their online storefront experience.
While e-commerce has steadily grown over the last 10 years, it’s no surprise there has been a surge in online sales like no other time before COVID-19. In 2021, global online retail sales totaled $4.9 trillion and are expected to increase more than 50 percent by 2025.
But something else is happening in the e-commerce environment. Research reveals consumers are wanting to merge reality with virtuality more and more when shopping online. In fact, 37 percent of Gen Z and millennial shoppers said they had used AR for virtual try-ons of clothes, shoes, or glasses, compared with 20 percent of those 45 and up. And it’s expected that one-third of U.S. online shoppers will use AR on an e-commerce site within the next three years.
While full realization of the metaverse is largely farther off into the future, one-third of consumers, including 40 percent of Millennials and 40 percent of Gen Zers, say they would be interested in shopping for either real or virtual products in metaverse environments. And it’s anticipated that by 2026 25 percent of people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse for shopping, social media, work, education, and entertainment.
Although still in its early stages, the metaverse will ultimately allow people from throughout the globe to meet up, interact, socialize, shop, entertain themselves and conduct transactions in new ways in virtual worlds across the web.
Along with AR/VR, blockchain is another technology which is now driving development of the metaverse. Blockchain technology is designed to provide highly secure, decentralized storage and management of NFTs, virtual real estate, and other digital assets, so that customer-owned data is protected on sites throughout the metaverse. Blockchain also lets shoppers make payments – including micro payments -- through multiple secure crypto currencies. Additional technologies powering the metaverse include artificial intelligence (AI), edge computing, and Internet of Things (IoT).
Software companies that integrate the BigCommerce platform with an AR/VR app and other metaverse technologies with e-commerce storefront functionality can provide clients with an innovative, leading-edge immersive e-commerce solution. It’s a solution that can broaden their consumer base — and place their competitors in the rear-view mirror.
Through custom features, e-commerce sites enabled with immersive environments provide shoppers with compelling and memorable experiences unavailable elsewhere, from their desktop and mobile devices.
These experiences are also shareable among consumers, sparking word-of-mouth marketing.
Shoppers can get virtual tours of stores and showrooms from the comfort and convenience of home, thereby driving traffic to e-comm sites.
Stores can also reduce return rates by allowing shoppers to visualize products more accurately.
Interactions with products with 3D/AR content show a 94 percent higher conversion rate than those without 3D/AR.
Immersive environments can help boost customer service by giving e-commerce businesses a clear understanding of how their target market interacts with products and makes buying decisions.
BigCommerce is a robust, innovative, highly flexible, and industry-leading e-commerce platform for software-as-a-service (SaaS) tailored to retailers. The platform allows thoroughly customized themes through built-in HTML, Java, and CSS capabilities. Product recommendations, drag-and-drop functionality, and the checkout experience are all customizable through application programming interfaces (APIs).
Built on the Google Cloud platform, BigCommerce includes Google, AMP, and Akami Image Manager for blazingly fast speeds. Retail stores can launch and edit site pages and add more than 70 built-in coupons and discounts without coding or scripting.
BigCommerce integrates easily with WordPress for site creation and Meta, Instagram, and Pinterest for social media features. APIs are also available to integrate with VR/AR apps, metaverse technology, and other third-party software.
Qualified developers can also use APIs in BigCommerce to integrate AR/VR apps built with third-party tools, including Unity, Unreal Engine, 3DS Max, and more. Unity, for example, is a popular gaming engine that can be used to develop apps compatible with Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, Linux, and WebGL. Capabilities include the creation of custom 2D animations, 2.5d isometric game design, visual feedback, characters, or avatars, and their actions.
Also with the metaverse in mind, developers can integrate BigCommerce with blockchain technology to build scalable and interoperable virtual economies and marketplaces that leverage NFTs, additional digital assets, and cryptocurrencies in a customized and decentralized 3D virtual space. With the rapid evolution of blockchain, developers can already integrate advanced capabilities for both private and public blockchains. High-end features include blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS), blockchain smart contract development, blockchain wallet and exchange, cryptocurrency mining, and creation of both nonfungible and semi-fungible assets.
More and more retailers are merging their e-commerce sites with technologies, such as AR/VR and blockchain, that offer unique, engaging, and highly secure experiences to shoppers, and they are reaping the benefits. As the metaverse expands and matures, online shopping environments are set to become even more immersive and forward-thinking.
To achieve these advantages for their clients, however, software companies that design BigCommerce solutions should team with a software development firm that offers custom development services that can create unique e-commerce experiences by integrating the BigCommerce platform with AR/VR, blockchain, and other metaverse technologies.
Chetu, Inc. does not affect the opinion of this article. Any mention of specific names for software, companies or individuals does not constitute an endorsement from either party unless otherwise specified. All case studies and blogs are written with the full cooperation, knowledge and participation of the individuals mentioned. This blog should not be construed as legal advice.
Chetu was incorporated in 2000 and is headquartered in Florida. We deliver World-Class Software Development Solutions serving entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 clients. Our services include process and systems design, package implementation, custom development, business intelligence and reporting, systems integration, as well as testing, maintenance and support. Chetu's expertise spans across the entire IT spectrum.
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